Whistler Blackcomb unveils plans for winter operations

Aug 27 2020, 9:15 am

Vail Resorts unveiled its operating plan for the 2020-21 winter season on Thursday, which included a number of new health and safety measures.

In a letter to guests, Vail Resorts CEO Rob Katz said that the adjustments are in order to “protect our guests, our employees, and our communities amid this pandemic.”

“It has been our goal to design an approach that can remain in place for all of the 2020/21 season,” he writes. “We do not want to be caught off guard or find ourselves needing to make reactionary changes.”

The global mountain resort operator currently owns 34 resorts across North America, including Whistler Blackcomb.

One health and safety measure that will carry on from the summer is the mandatory use of non-medical face masks or coverings. Vail says that they are to be used in all parts of their operation, including chairlifts and gondolas, while inside buildings, and during all ski and snowboard lessons.”

“No one will be permitted on the mountain without a face covering,” says the resort operation.

Additionally, guests are recommended to wear face masks while indoors and outdoors in public spaces throughout the resort towns.

In order to allow for physical distancing, a reservation system is also being introduced for pass holders. All pass holders will be required to make a reservation before arriving at the mountain and throughout the season, users will “be able to make as many week-of reservations as their pass type and availability allows.”

Single lift tickets for the mountain will only go on sale starting December 8. Vail says that the number of individual lift tickets available will be dependent on how many reservations have been made by pass holders. They’ll also only be available either online or through call centres — they will not be sold at the ticket window in the resort.

Physical distancing will also be practiced on chairlifts and gondolas. Only related parties will be seated together or two singles on opposite sides of lifts that can fit four or more. As for ski and ride school, class sizes will be reduced to a maximum of six people and lessons must be purchased in advance.

And while on-mountain restaurants will be open, the number of people coming in and out will be managed. Sit down restaurants will also operate with reduced seating and extra spacing.

As such, guests are advised to adjust their schedules and dine earlier or later to avoid the lunch rush. Additionally, they’re encouraged to bring water, snacks, and other food while on the mountain.

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